The Heart of Acumen: #EducateRuralKZN
During the pandemic, Acumen media plunged headlong into a social upliftment programme in Sodwana and Mbazwana. Two years later, and we have fed over 8,000 people, organized various charity events and built several boreholes for the surrounding communities.
After the High School Blazer is Passed On
It’s easy to forget the ongoing struggles young people face in rural communities. They become glaring when the High School Blazer is passed on. Much of this has to do with either a lack of guidance or a sense of disbelief in the future; a sentiment which is very common among the younger generation. I met Amahle, now in her final year of high school. She is a straight A student. I was immensely proud of her results and asked her what her plans were for the future. She shrugged and then explained to me that the best she could hope for was to find work as a cleaner. “Cleaner?” I asked, as if the absurdity was self-evident.
Teach a Man to Fish
Our NPO has shifted its focus from #FeedRuralKZN to #EducateRuralKZN. It’s a road less travelled.
The government introduced an NSFAS grant for those who can’t afford tertiary education. This grant is so brilliant that if the student continues to achieve such incredible results in a tertiary institution, they may not need any funding at all. In fact, the grant system pays for tuition, accommodation, travel and food.
During September, volunteers are producing a video detailing the steps required in order to complete the NSFAS application. Our local Nduna, Mr D A Ncube, has arranged for the video to be both played and shared at the local Mbazwana library where there is free internet access. Ncube will approach ten schools in the region where there are grade elevens and matrics achieving straight A’s on higher grade. (Including maths and science). These students will be encouraged to visit the library and to take their first steps toward a higher education.
For those students who show promise but have not achieved these high grades, a local businessman has offered a large space to build an Artisan Skill Centre in Mbazwana. Within this structured setting, volunteer teachers will be committing two hours per week to teach the following skills: painting walls; using power tools; laying cement etc. During the training of these skills, the community will be encouraged to utilize the services of these newly trained artisans. The physical work will have a dual purpose. One, it will form part of the practical training, and two, it will assist the community where there are structures that require maintenance.
One of these classes, called Life Acumen, will be focused on life skills. Necessary skills that are needed to engage in the workplace. How to write a CV, how to set up an email address, how to speak on the phone, formulas for wealth and the impact of a strong handshake. The idea is to give these kids a step ahead in their career paths.
The training is free, however, once the students are competent in the skills they have been taught, they, in turn, have to contribute two hours of their time every week to pass these skills on to others. All teachers will be paid for their time, thereby creating jobs and a culture of paying it forward.
We rely on the kindness of strangers. If you have some small change to donate or an old drill and hammer that you are willing to contribute to this new Centre, contact us here: https://acumenmedia.net/feed-rural-kzn/